I started my personal training business LEP Fitness back in 2012 – during that time, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to build up a small and successful personal training business.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most personal trainers go out of business, and usually within the first 1-2 years!
In a tough and competitive industry here are:
10 Reasons Why Most Personal Training Businesses Fail
1. Taking On The Wrong Clients
I get it… you need clients! You have to pay the rent and bills, and need food in the cupboards!
That said, if you end up taking on anyone and everyone, you’ll end up with a diary of clients whom you don’t enjoy training. Results will be slow, and you’ll end up resenting your job, and likely quit, or go out of business because clients sense your lack of passion!
It’s essential to know your target audience and to work with people who you are passionate about coaching and most skilled at helping.
2. Awful Financial Management
One week you get £500, the next week £50! One month you have £200 leftover, so you go and buy a new pair of trainers, BUT then the next month… you’re broke and borrowing money off your mate Dave! Lol.
One thing I see is personal trainers living week to week, or month to month.
There’s no monthly financial goals. No savings. And when money is present, it’s spent on materialistic things that don’t add value to your personal training business.
I’d recommend checking out my ebook – The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Personal Training Business – I teach you all about how to run and build a sustainable financial personal training model.
3. Expecting Things To Be Easy
Would you expect to train at the gym for 12 months and have a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger? NO, you wouldn’t!
So why, after 12 months of starting your personal training business, do you expect to be earning six figures?
Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration, BUT hopefully you catch my drift?
Building a successful business takes years and years. To begin with, it’s all about laying the foundations – which means acquiring knowledge and getting lots of experience under your belt. It’s also about building a reputation and growing a portfolio of results.
Then as time goes on, your rates increase, and new opportunities like opening up your training studio and hiring other trainers become more likely.
BUT remember it takes time, play the long game. Your journey will have plenty of ups and downs, and it won’t be easy.
4. Zero Clue About Marketing
It’s amazing how many personal trainers have no idea how to market themselves. I’m not just talking about Facebook Ads, or creating a poster that you put up in the gym!
I’m talking about how you dress and hold yourself with clients. Marketing is all about presentation. It’s about knowing who you are and what your business stands for.
If you struggle with marketing, then I’d recommend reading the book ‘Book Yourself Solid’ and any book by Seth Godin.
5. Terrible Content
Ego-driven content – topless selfies! Bikini shots! Lack of understanding of what your potential clients want and need. Always selling sessions and packages instead of offering awesome content that solves your ideal customer’s problems. People will buy once they see the value you can offer. Make your content less about you, and more about your audience!
6. Lack of Self-Development
No investment in yourself, and therefore your business stays exactly the same.
You always need to be learning, no matter what stage of business you are at, BUT especially in the early days. The more time you have, the more you should be studying.
I would recommend spending at least 30 minutes (ideally 60 minutes) each day on personal development. That could be reading, or listening to a podcast, or audiobook – or a combination of all 3.
“Your business grows as you grow”
Here are some articles I wrote to help you with personal development:
7. Too Many Distractions
Spending too much time on social media, watching Netflix, and going out and getting drunk at the weekends!
The more you prioritise your business, the more likely you are to be successful.
Who do you think is more likely to succeed:
Personal Trainer 1: This trainer puts in a 60 hour a week shift – does 30 sessions per week, and spends the rest of their time working on self-development, writing content to help their target audience, and designing custom meal and workout plans for clients.
Personal Trainer 2: Turns up for a paycheque. Does the bare minimum to get by. Spends no time on self-development BUT expects clients to come flooding in! Goes out at the weekend, and spends all day in bed on Sunday watching Netlfix and ordering Dominoes.
8. Not Being True To Your Values
You are trying to impress other PTs rather than clients. You are trying to keep up with the Joneses instead of following what truly matters to you.
The sooner you can figure out what you’re all about, the better. What do you and your business stand for? What standards do you have? What do you expect from yourself and from the clients you serve?
You need to set the tone and then stick to it, no matter what. Morals, integrity, and high standards are KEY. Without them, you will fail.
9. Lack Of Proffesionilsm
Wearing Gym Shark Tracksuits for PT sessions. Calling your clients ‘mate’ and ‘buddy’ and ‘pal’ – if you want a professional business, act like a professional.
Professionalism should be consistent across the board, from how you dress, to the way you write content, and respond to client’s emails and texts.
10. Lack Of Guidance
Nobody is holding you accountable. You need a business mentor to help steer you through the challenges and obstacles that are inevitable. Hiring a good quality coach is the best money you can spend.
I would not have made it this far without the help from my business coaches, and even guidance from my close family. You need help, and you will not grow your personal training business by yourself.
Too many personal trainers are stubborn and think with their ego, they’re afraid to reach out for help in fear of looking weak. If you’re struggling, you need to be prepared to reach out for help.
That could be picking up a book or listening to a podcast, or it could be reaching out to a family member, BUT in my opinion, the best option would be to hire a business mentor.
Thanks for reading,
Nick has been a personal trainer for the last ten years. He set up his personal training business LEP Fitness 7 years ago and has completed over 10,000 x 1-1 personal training sessions to date.
He now works with fellow personal trainers, helping them to grow their personal training businesses. He does this by sharing his knowledge and wisdom – guiding personal trainers through the obstacles and challenges they face.
If you’re a personal trainer and would like to find out more about the services that Nick has to offer, please click here.